Convert Your Outlook Emails to Plain Text For Easy Storage

Save a Microsoft Outlook email as a file for backup purposes

Saving an Email as a Plain Text File in Outlook
Saving an Email as a Plain Text File in Outlook. Microsoft, Inc.

If you like to save your Microsoft Outlook emails to a file, you can use Outlook itself to convert the message to plain text (with the .TXT file extension) and store the file on your computer, flash drive, or anywhere else.

Once your email is in a plain text document, you can open it with any text editor/viewer, like Notepad in Windows, Notepad++, Microsoft Word, etc. It's also really easy to copy the text out of the message, share it with others, or simply store the file as a backup.

When you save an email to a file with Outlook, you can easily save just one email or even save multiples into one text file. All the messages will be combined into one simple document.

Note: You can also convert your Outlook messages to plain text so that the email sends as text only, without graphics, but it will not save the email to a file on your computer. See How to Send a Plain Text Message in Outlook if you need help.

How to Save Outlook Emails to a File

  1. Open the message in the preview pane by clicking or tapping it once.

    To save multiple messages to one text file, highlight all of them by holding down the Ctrl key.
  2. What you do next depends on the version of MS Office that you're using:

    Outlook 2016: File > Save As
    Outlook 2013: File > Save As
    Outlook 2007: Select Save As from the Office button
    Outlook 2003: File > Save As...
  3. Make sure Text Only or Text Only (*.txt) is selected as the Save as type: option.

    Note: If you're saving just one message, you'll likely have other options too, like to save the email to an MSG, OFT, HTML/HTM, or MHT file, but none of those formats are plain text.
  1. Enter a name for the file and choose somewhere memorable to save it.
  2. Click or tap Save to save the email(s) to a file.

    Note: If you've saved multiple emails to one file, the separate emails are not easily sectioned off. Instead, you have to look carefully at the header and body of each message to know when one starts and the other ends.

    Other Ways to Save Outlook Emails to a File

    If you find yourself needing to save messages often, there are alternatives that might be better suited for you.

    For example, CodeTwo Outlook Export can convert Outlook email to the CSV format. You can "print" the Outlook email to a PDF file if you need to save the message to the PDF format. Email2DB can parse messages and save the information to databases.

    If you need your Outlook email in a Word format to work with MS Word, like DOC or DOCX, just save the message to the MHT file format like mentioned in Step 3 above, and then import that MHT file into Microsoft Word so that you can save it to the MS Word format.

    Note: Opening an MHT file with MS Word requires that you switch the "All Word Documents" drop-down menu to "All Files" so that you can browse and open the file with the .MHT file extension.

    To save an Outlook message to a different kind of file might be possible with a free file converter.

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